Experts: Use national budget crisis as an opportunity

Ranking listed the three ages of information:

  1. Hands—Pre-books, learning was done through apprenticeship and practice. It was individualized, but the problem was the inability to scale this knowledge and give access to many people.
  2. Books—Teachers became the conduits of knowledge, especially what information was needed from these books. Memorization was used, and testing was based on memorized facts. Access was solved, but the new problem was how to find the information you needed.
  3. Data—With the influx of knowledge available primarily from the internet, the problem has now become accessing the right information, or how to sift through the information. Teachers should become those who put the information into context, rather than simply dispensers of information.

“I offer these three questions for education leaders to consider in this ‘data’ age: One, by giving students more information in lecture format in class, are we helping them or hurting them? Two, if I as a teacher think I am the nexus of all information, am I wise or delusional? And three, if teachers can help assess and sift the information, aren’t they the most important part of 21st century education?”

Diane Roussel, superintendent of Jefferson Parish Schools in Marrero, La., is in charge of one district that suffered not only a budget crisis, but a natural disaster, and learned how to “master the moment” by taking the opportunity to transform her schools.

“I asked myself, what can our schools look like? We started with a clear plan on how we wanted teaching to look and 21st century learning to be, and went from there. We really redefined roles in the system,” she explained.

Jefferson Parish created a technology division and hired a CTO, implemented tried-and-tested educational technology in the classroom, and made sure to commit the school board.

Meris Stansbury

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